Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Reds earn the National League Central championship

The Cardinals managed to win in Chicago in the early afternoon, pressuring the Reds to win at home to clinch the NL Central today. Cincinnati celebrated the NL Central title as the Reds improved their record to 92-60 and the Dodgers fall to 78-73.

Reds fans across the country were able to watch Mat Latos and the Reds win the division on the nationally televised Fox broadcast. Cincinnati was strong in the field and at the plate. Stand-in skipper Chris Speier left Drew Stubbs and his .214 AVG on the bench, opting to start Chris Heisey in center field and Xavier Paul in left field. Stubbs came in as a pinch runner in the seventh inning and would take his position in centerfield, with Heisey shifting over to left, in the eighth inning. The Reds were assertive at the plate, applying pressure throughout the game to Stephen Fife and the five other pitchers the Dodgers used.

Here's the good, the bad, and the notables from tonight's clinch:The Good:
+Latos was in full control on the mound. Sometimes known for being overcome by his emotions, Latos was cool as a cucumber in his eight inning appearance.
+Brandon Phillips had two runs, his second a long homer. This season the Reds are undefeated when DatDudeBP hits one out.
+ Jay Bruce, the first player in MLB history to hit at least 20 home runs in his rookie season and improve on that in the subsequent four seasons, hit his 34th of the season in the fourth inning.
+Aroldis Chapman made his first appearance since September 10th and sealed the deal for the Reds in the top of the ninth inning.

The Bad:
+Todd Frazier was caught in a pickle between first and second after his RBI single allowed Brandon Phillips to score. Getting tagged out is bad, driving in a run makes it not-so bad.
+Joey Votto, still getting back to his pre-surgery form, struck out twice.
+Dusty Baker missed his fourth game this week and remained in a Chicago hospital due to an irregular heartbeat. He is slated to return to the Queen City tomorrow.

The Notables:
+Interviewed during the game, Bronson Arroyo praised Zack Cozart as “one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around in the field” as he pointed out the overall strength of the Reds infield.
+Winding down the season, we have another reason to celebrate: The 2012 season is now the second in Reds history in which the starting pitchers have all recorded 12+ wins and 120+K.
+The Reds will try to take the rubber game in this three game series against the Dodgers in another national broadcast, on Sunday. Homer Bailey (12-9, 3.82) will take the mound against ex-teammate Aaron Harang (9-10, 3.80) on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball at 8:06.

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